Tigers bring back Jim Leyland, entire coaching staff for 2011

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Despite a disappointing 80-78 record that puts them in third place and out of the playoffs for the fourth straight season since a World Series run in 2006, the Tigers announced today that they’re bringing back manager Jim Leyland and his entire coaching staff for next year.
Leyland was already signed through 2011, so his return certainly isn’t a shock, but the lack of any shakeups on the staff is somewhat surprising.
Hitting coach Lloyd McClendon, pitching coach Rick Knapp, first base coach Tom Brookens, third base coach Gene Lamont, infield coach Rafael Belliard, and bullpen coach Jeff Jones will all return in the same roles.
Leyland is 423-384 (.524) since taking the Tigers job in 2006.

Joey Votto: “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently.”

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We’ve poked fun often at the spring training trope of players showing up to camp in the “best shape of [their] life.” Reds first baseman Joey Votto has turned that entirely on its head. Talking about his offseason, the 2010 NL MVP said, “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently. We did all the testing and I am fatter,” Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto, of course, wasn’t trying to say he’s not in shape; he was just using some of his trademark self-deprecating humor.

Votto did get serious when discussing the state of the rebuilding Reds. As Buchanan also reported, Votto said, “I think we’re starting to get to the point where people are starting to get tired of this stretch of ball. I think something needs to start changing and start going in a different direction. I’m going to do my part to help make that change.”

Votto, 34, is under contract with the Reds through at least 2023, so he still has plenty of incentive to help see the rebuild through. He has been nothing short of stellar over the last three seasons. This past season, he hit .320/.454/.578 with 36 home runs, 100 RBI, and 106 runs scored in 707 appearances across all 162 games. Votto led the majors in walks (134) and on-base percentage and led the National League in OPS (1.032).

Despite Votto’s presence, both FanGraphs and PECOTA are projecting the Reds to put up a 74-88 record. The club had a pretty quiet offseason, expecting to enter 2018 with largely the same roster as last year.